HERCA launches European inspection campaign in diagnostic radiology

Starting on the International Day of Radiology on 8 November 2016, a number of national radiation protection authorities have been conducting a special series of inspections in radiology departments and practices. The aim of these inspections is to assess the application of the justification principle. By monitoring existing practices, the European authorities hope to identify routes for further improvement in patient radiation protection.

As part of an initiative launched by HERCA (Heads of Radiation Protection competent Authorities), a voluntary association that brings together 56 radiation protection authorities from 32 European countries, a number of radiology departments and practices across Europe is receiving a special round of inspections from their national radiation protection authorities during November 2016. The focus of these inspections is on compliance with the justification principle, which requires that each medical imaging procedure should contribute sufficiently to patient care to outweigh the possible detriment caused by radiation exposure.

The national radiation protection authorities conduct the inspections in accordance with their own rules and routines, while using the same HERCA inspection template. The template follows the logic of the normal justification process and verifies to what extent the referrers, the radiological practitioners and other staff adhere to the corresponding procedures.
The goal of this HERCA initiative is to monitor to what extent the justification principle is put into practice in diagnostic radiology across Europe and to identify potential routes for improvement. The findings will be presented in a report that will be published on the HERCA website.

Examples of national initiatives in justification field

Norway (NRPA): The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority has together with Akershus University Hospital made an information film about justification within medical imaging. The aim of the film is to increase the awareness of justification and for  use in education of health professionals.

Luxembourg (Ministry of Health)

Belgium (FANC/AFCN): Communication campaign on justification within medical imaging (available in French, German and Dutch)

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